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Environmental Impact & Whole Life Cost

Whole Life Costing and Life Cycle Assessment

The integration of Whole Life Costing and Life Cycle Assessment presents a powerful route to improving the sustainability of the construction industry. Combining economic and environmental assessment tools to obtain "best value" solutions in both financial and environmental terms has the potential to make a significant contribution to achieving sustainable development. Recent projects at BRE have produced a number of outputs aimed at increasing the integration of Whole Life Costing and Life Cycle Assessment. Further information on the combined use of Whole Life Costing and Life Cycle Assessment is provided in a BRE Digest 452, Whole life costing and life cycle assessment for sustainable building design.

Common Data

WLC and LCA in the construction industry have developed separately in response to economic and environmental problems, but the two tools have much in common. They both require data on quantities of materials used, the lifetime they could or will be used for and the maintenance and operational implications of using the products.

BRE have now developed a database, Whole Life Costing Analysis Tool (WLCAT), which will enable the collection and analysis of whole life costing data, which can then be used as a source for BRE tools and consultancy. One of the sources of data for WLCAT will be the WLCComparator.

BRE are also currently working on the development of a new version of Envest which will estimate Whole Life Costs in addition to Environmental Impact. Envest 2 will be web-based, but very similar in feel to the existing version of Envest . It is intended that two modes of use will be provided:

  • Envest 2: Estimator will operate in the same way as the existing version of Envest, using default replacement and maintenance intervals generated by WLCAT, together with capital cost data.
  • Envest 2: Calculator will allow the user to enter their own cost, replacement and maintenance data, providing the user with a bespoke estimate of WLC and Environmental Impact for their particular project.

BRE hope to launch the tool early in 2003. If you would like to be kept informed of progress, please email your details to the contact point below.

Buy the Digest now:
Buy Whole life costing and life cycle assessment for sustainable building design, BRE Digest 452 online from, price 10.50 plus p&p. Buy online now.

Acknowledgements: The development of WLCAT, WLCComparator and the prototype version of Envest 2 are supported by the DTI Construction Industries Directorate.

For more information
Telephone Suzy Edwards, 01923 664300, or e-mail

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